WPOTY 2014: Shortlisted

Another year, another shortlisted image! This time in the ‘Invertebrates’ category:

Pond skaters

River sprites

Canon 600D + 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens; 2 sec @ f/40; ISO 100

This is a long exposure image of pond skaters (Gerris sp.) in motion, taken in the shady bend of a local river one summer afternoon. Shortly after this frame was captured my tripod toppled over and the camera went for an expensive swim!

Unfortunately this year’s entry again failed to make the final cut. Congratulations to The Winners.

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Shortlisted: BWPA and WPOTY 2013

Fox cub at night

Fox cub (Vulpes vulpes) in car headlights

Well it’s been another case of “nearly, not quite” in the furiously competitive world of wildlife photography this year…

WPOTY 2013

My image of a red fox cub in car headlights (above) was shortlisted in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in the ‘Creative’ category, but progressed no further.

Driving home one night I encountered 3 cubs gamboling about in a narrow country lane without a care in the world. They were oblivious to the sound of car engines and headlights. I hope they survived to adulthood.

As any technically-fastidious wildlife photographer will tell you the term ‘creative’ is reserved for blurry, out-of-focus images, and this effort on my part made no attempt to challenge that prejudice!

BWPA 2013

In the domestic British Wildlife Photography Awards this year my image of a glow worm displaying against leaf litter was shortlisted in the ‘Hidden Britain’ category.

Glow worm

Glow worm (Lampyris noctiluca) displaying against leaf litter

Photographing glow worms is quite an adventure, and a frequently frustrating one, as my earlier blog post on the subject explains.

How short is ‘short’?

The BWPA shortlist comprises around 300 images we were informed, so the shortlist is not especially exclusive it seems! Winners have yet to be announced.

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year (NOT)

Raft spider hatchlings

My image of a nursery web of raft spiderlings (Dolomedes fimbriatus) was shortlisted in the ‘Behaviour: Cold-blooded Animals’ category of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 competition, run by London’s Natural History Museum, but failed to make it through to the final rounds.

It was fascinating to observe these tiny hatchlings at the edge of a boggy pond as they reacted in unison to potential threats, expanding and contracting in their protective ball.

It would have been interesting to understand a little more about the judging process involved in such a major competition, but feedback was sadly lacking.

Congratulations to The Winners.

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White Sika Winner

I was exceedingly pleased to learn last week that my image of a white sika deer won the RSPB’s ‘Picture Arne’ photo competition, judged by wildlife broadcasting legend Mr Chris Packham!

White sika deer

Blondie

There are several white sika in the area surrounding Poole Harbour in Dorset. They are a ‘white morph’ since they don’t have the red eyes one would expect in a true albino.

Sika deer (Cervus nippon) are not native to the UK but escaped from captivity on nearby Brownsea Island some decades ago, since when they have made the Isle of Purbeck and surrounding area their home.

The RSPB’s reserve on the Arne peninsula supports a number of scarce species – most notably the dartford warbler (Sylvia undata), but also heath-loving reptiles such as the sand lizard and smooth snake.

I stumbled across this scene late one sultry August evening last year whilst returning home from another photographic project. The young sika stag was browsing in a meadow, accompanied by a small group of other more conventionally coloured deer.

Taken with the Canon EF 100-400mm lens.

Images of Durlston

I was delighted to be voted Winner in the Spring / Summer 2011 ‘Images of Durlston’ photo competition earlier this month, with this image of a juvenile peregrine patrolling the clifftops:

Juvenile peregrine in flight

Juvenile peregrine in flight on clifftops

Durlston Country Park and Nature Reserve is located on the south coast of Dorset just outside Swanage.

I was fortunate enough to be a regular volunteer at Durlston for more than 2 years. This shot was taken on a brief return visit in July of this year, with a Canon EF 100-400mm lens and a bit of luck.

Two peregrines fledged in the area this year and could regularly be seen from the coast path over the summer – alternately terrorising the nesting seabirds on the cliffs below and testing their new wings in mock aerial combat with each other, and with their increasingly unamused parents.

Picture Arne

My image of an osprey with freshly caught bass was Highly Commended in the RSPB’s Picture Arne photo competition judged by BBC TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham:

Osprey with fish. Arne, Dorset.

The RSPB’s reserve at Arne lies on the shores of Poole Harbour in Dorset. The ospreys are regular visitors on their migration south to Africa for the winter.